Iranians access Facebook, Twitter accounts for a day - albeit by error

NEW DELHI: Facebook and Twitter, which are taboo in Iran, accidentally became available to users on 16 September - only to be shut off the next day with the government blaming a technical glitch for this sudden freedom.

The two social sites had been shut off in Iran in the summer of 2009 after riots erupted following a disputed win of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A number of Facebook and Twitter users said on Monday that that they could access the social networking sites without bypassing the firewall which Iranian government had imposed for monitoring the social media.

Correspondents of almost every western newspaper tweeted that they were able to access their accounts using regular internet services.

Reuters reported that not only Facebook and Twitter was being accessed, but other blocked sites were also opening.

But then Secretary of a State Committee Abdolsamad Khoramabadi said it was a technical glitch by a few internet service providers and there were no plans yet to lift the ban. An inquiry has been ordered.

However, media sources said that the Iranian government may be testing the intensity of response if the ban is lifted. This is borne out by the fact that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarid created his Facebook and Twitter accounts during this period.

Newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani is believed to be more liberal and has already hinted earlier that he would tackle the social media differently.

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